BLACKHAWK-STUDIOS / ruth mckinney


Ruth McKinney has been an artist and educator most of her life. She teamed up with Joel McKinney in 1997 and they have been building Blackhawk Studios at their rural Minnesota home ever since. Ruth works mostly in ceramics and bronze, but has also been painting collaboratively with Joel for the past couple of years.

Ruth holds a BA from Augsburg College, K-12 licensure earned at Southwest State University (along with more than 100 post graduate studio credits), and an MFA from the University of South Dakota.

Ruth taught at Northern State University from 2001 to 2005 where she taught all of the Art Education classes, several Art Technology courses including Graphic Design, Desktop Publishing, and Web Design.

Ceramic Tile Murals

Hands Off 2003
an example of Ruth′s unique style with handbuilt ceramic tile. This shirt/jacket shape is covered with rich textures and designs in bas-relief.


Ruth′s work in sculpture ranges from carved non-functional vessels to cast bronze and cast bronze bells.

Graphic Design

Ruth has worked as a Graphic Designer for many years and taught Graphic Design at both USD and at NSU.These are examples of some of the theatre posters she designed at SMSU.

Ruth McKinney, best friend, partner, artist and educator, passed away on March 18th, 2009. She had more heart than anyone else I have ever know and she is terribly missed.

Ruth rests at 44°15′29.84" N    95°27′04.40" W.

I love you, Baby.